Wednesday, December 29, 2010

First Winter Freeze: 2010

Though several other Austin gardens reported freezing temperatures as far back as a month ago, my garden had only received the slightest of touches from winter's cold hands - none of the plants even showing damage (though the leaves were certainly falling from the trees).  But in the last few days, my garden finally received a good freeze setting a few of the plants back to their protected roots where they'll await next spring's warmth.

The Red Christmas Pride (Ruellia amoena) always get zapped back to the ground.  The three found in my garden have been slow to return each year and are slowly disappearing - am thinking this may very well be their last hurrah.

I am hoping that the Salvia van houttei can return from its roots (most of my Salvias do).  It was bravely trying to bloom right up to the end.

The potted Root Beer Plant (Piper auritum) leaves turned into the soggy handkerchiefs as always documented by Philip at East Side Patch (from whom I received the plant as a pass-along).

The three Dwarf Mexican Firebush (Hamelia patens 'Compacta') had shown some promising growth during the year so it will be interesting to see if they can return to form next spring.  Though I'd like to see even stronger growth if I am to retain them.

I deliberately left the Hedychium 'Tahitian Flame' out so that the foliage would get nipped back - wanted to see how low it could go and how (if?) it recovers next spring.

Others that received at least a little leaf damage:
  • Southern Wood Fern (Dryopteris normalis): lost about half their fronds
  • Philippine Violets (Barleria cristata): now have mostly crunchy leaves
  • Mountain Sage (Salvia regla): ditto for this plant
  • Toad Lily (Tricyrtis lasiocarpa): both potted and in ground showing some die-back
  • Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis plicata): show some damage (though that may have begun even earlier; one of them is potted and safe in the house - and even blooming)
  • Blue Anise Sage (Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'): still mostly green, but some minor damage
  • Red Dragon Knotweed (Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'): typically dies back in winter, then comes back strong next spring
  • Crinums: all have minor leaf damage, but still mostly green (the ones I've had for years always die back to ground; not sure what new ones will do)
  • Banana Tree: in a pot; wanted some die back this year (got my wish).


  1. Bummer....worse part is that there is more on the way. Tucson is under a snow advisory until tomorrow night. This freeze will really kill any hopes at reviving our plants.

  2. We've had lows of 20 twice, here in Wimberley. My garden has been a sad sight for weeks.

    Looking forward to seeing what of your shade plants return. My fenced yard is pretty shady. The sunniest areas are deer infested.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  3. Rohrerbot: Not unexpected for my area (actually quite late); sorry to hear about yours.

    Linda: Always amazes me how much temperatures vary within an hour drive from my garden (lows of 20 twice already - gasp!).